Actress and rapper Awkwafina has posted a statement on Twitter addressing criticisms of her use of AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and “Blaccent” in films, TV shows and music, as well as confirming that she will no longer be using the social media platform, according to NME.
The report adds that Awkwafina – an Asian-American actress, whose real name is Nora Lum – shared the statement on Saturday (February 5), writing: “As a non-Black POC, I stand by the fact that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE, what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalised group.
“But I must emphasise: To mock, belittle, or to be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My Nature. it never has, and it never was.”
Awkwafina went on to explain why she felt her voice often carried that accent. “My immigrant background allowed me to carve an American identity off the movies and TV shows I watched, the children I went to public school with, and my undying love and respect for hip hop,” she said.
“I think, as a group, Asian Americans are still trying to figure out what that journey means for them.”
After sharing the statement, she told her followers: “Well, I’ll see you in a few years, Twitter – per my therapist. To my fans, thank you for continuing to love and support someone who wishes they could be a better person for you. I apologise if I ever fell short, in anything I did. You’re in my heart always.”
Awkwafina later clarified her comment, adding: “I am retiring from the ingrown toenail that is Twitter. Not retiring from anything else, even if I wanted to, and I didn’t drunkenly hit someone with a shoehorn and now escape as a fugitive. Also am avail on all other socials that don’t tell you to kill yourself!”
Blaccent is a term which refers to non-Black individuals adopting a Black voice, connected to allegations of cultural misappropriation.
The actress has faced criticism over the issue in some of her recent roles, most notably as Goh Peik Lin and Constance in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8.